A native of Canada, Ryan Dempster had a long, productive Major League Baseball career. Over 16 years, Dempster won at least 10 games eight times, but made the All-Star Game just twice. His first appearance came in 2000 as a member of the Florida Marlins.
The best day of that All-Star season and arguably his career came on this day 20 years ago. Dempster tossed a complete-game, one-hit shutout in a 3-0 win over the New York Mets.
It was the rubber game of a three-game series at the Mets arrived at Pro Player Stadium to face the host Marlins on May 7, 2000. The teams were separated by a game and a half as the Mets came in 17-15 to take on 15-16 Florida.
Throughout the afternoon, Dempster retired the Mets in order in five of his nine innings. On 114 pitches, Dempster walked four Mets while striking out eight. Despite the one-hitter, Dempster was forced to work out of trouble a few times.
New York put runners in scoring position in the first, fourth and sixth innings, but each time, Dempster was able to get key outs. Dempster took a no-hitter in the sixth inning before catcher Mike Piazza crushed a two-out double. Dempster was able to get Robin Ventura to ground out to end the inning.
Melvin Mora was the final Met to reach base on the day when he drew a one-out walk in the top of the seventh inning. Mora didn’t stay long as shortstop Rey Ordoñez lined into a double play to end the threat.
The Marlins wasted no time getting Dempster the lead. Luis Castillo, Dave Berg and Cliff Floyd came through with three straight singles to open the game. Castillo scored on Floyd’s RBI hit, but Mets’ starter Glendon Rusch was able to get out of the inning with no further damage.
That run would be all Dempster would need and all Rusch would allow. In seven innings of work, Rusch surrendered just six hits and one walk.
The Marlins were able to take advantage of the Mets’ bullpen and give Dempster some insurance with a two-out rally in the bottom of the eighth. After Cliff Floyd’s two-out double off Dennis Cook put a runner in scoring position, Preston Wilson and Mike Lowell came through with back-to-back RBI doubles off Pat Mahomes to push the lead to three.
At 104 pitches entering the final frame, Dempster needed 10 pitches in the top of the ninth to seal the deal. After getting Edgardo Alfonzo and Piazza to fly out to center, Ventura popped up to second to end the contest.
The performance served as the first complete game of Dempster’s career. Dempster would add another one later in the 2000 season during a 14-10 campaign in which he posted 3.66 ERA and 209 strikeouts in 226.1 innings.
Dempster would never throw as many innings nor record as many strikeouts as he did in 2000. His performance against the Mets would serve as the only one-hitter of his career and perhaps his best outing ever. It happened on this day two decades ago.